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As I Lay Dying

As I Lay Dying

by William Faulkner

As I Lay Dying Section Twelve, narrated by Darl Summary

  • (Since Darl is still on his journey with Jewel, he’s either envisioning this, or narrating it from a later time, or he has all the ESP of a real, omniscient narrator.)
  • Dewey Dell says that Addie wants Jewel, and Anse confesses that they left for a loading job to earn three dollars.
  • Looking out of the window, Addie calls for Cash. Through the window, he shows her what the coffin will look like once complete by holding up the individual planks of wood.
  • Addie lies back in bed, looks at Vardaman, and "the flame in her eyes is blown out." (Or, she dies, for those of you who don’t speak Faulkner.)
  • Dewey Dell keens, throwing her body onto her mother’s bones.
  • Vardaman hides behind his father, and then leaves the room.
  • Anse curses the boys (Darl and Jewel) for leaving, as they have now missed the moment of their mother’s death.
  • In an italicized portion, Darl updates us on his three-dollar quest: a wheel has broken, and he and Jewel are thick in mud.
  • Back at the house, Cash enters the room, saw in hand. Anse asks that he speed up the coffin-making, adding that Christians will help him if necessary.
  • Anse orders Dewey Dell to make supper. She pulls the quilt over her mother’s hands and up to her chin.
  • Italicized: Darl envisions a conversation between Peabody and Dewey Dell. Peabody consoles and convinces her that Addie is in a better place. By speaking in abstractions, Dewey Dell hints about wanting to abort her pregnancy.
  • Anse, in a lovely final moment, hovers over Addie and wrinkles the quilt while attempting to smooth it out. Then he remarks that he can finally get those teeth he wanted. (Nice.)
  • Italicized: Jewel struggles to free the wagon from the ditch. Darl continues to call for him (as he has been), and announces their mother’s death.

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